Monthly Archives: May 2012

Measuring National Culture Automatically

Measuring National Culture Automatically

“Culture is the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from others” (Geert Hofstede)

Professor Geert Hofstede conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture. He analyzed a large data base of employee values scores collected by IBM between 1967 and 1973 covering more than 70 countries, from which he first used the 40 largest only and afterwards extended the analysis to 50 countries and 3 regions. Subsequent studies validating the earlier results have included commercial airline pilots and students in 23 countries, civil service managers in 14 counties, ‘up-market’ consumers in 15 countries and ‘elites’ in 19 countries.

Dimensions of National Culture

The values that distinguished countries from each other could be grouped statistically into four clusters. These four groups became the Hofstede dimensions of national culture:

  • Power Distance (PDI)
  • Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV)
  • Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)

fifth Dimension was added in 1991 based on research by Michael Bond who conducted an additional international study among students with a survey instrument that was developed together with Chinese employees and managers.
That Dimension, based on Confucian dynamism, is Long-Term Orientation (LTO) and was applied to 23 countries.

In 2010, research by Michael Minkov allowed to extend the number of country scores for this dimension to 93, using recent World Values Survey data from representative samples of national populations.

In the 2010 edition of Cultures and organizations, a sixth dimension has been added, based on Michael Minkov’s analysis of the World Values Survey data for 93 countries. This new dimension is called Indulgence versus Restraint.

Culture only exists by comparison

The country scores on the dimensions are relative – societies are compared to other societies. Without make a comparison a country score is meaningless. 

These relative scores have been proven to be quite stable over decades. The forces that cause cultures to shift tend to be global or continent-wide. This means that they affect many countries at the same time, so that if their cultures shift, they shift together, and their relative positions remain the same.

The country scores on The Hofstede Dimensions can also be found to correlate with other data about the countries in question. Some examples: Power distance is correlated with income inequality in a country. Individualism is correlated with national wealth. Masculinity is correlated negatively with the percent of women in democratically elected governments. Uncertainty avoidance is associated with the legal obligation in developed countries for citizens to carry identity cards. Long-term orientation is correlated with school results in international comparisons

What about Indonesia?

Power distance
This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us.
Power distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.

Indonesia scores high on this dimension (score of 78) which means that the following characterises the Indonesian style: Being dependent on hierarchy, unequal rights between power holders and non power holders, superiors in-accessible, leaders are directive, management controls and delegates. Power is centralized and managers count on the obedience of their team members.  Employees expect to be told what to do and when. Control is expected and managers are respected for their position. Communication is indirect and negative feedback hidden. High Power Distance also means that Indonesian co-workers would expect to be clearly directed by the boss or manager – it is the classic Guru-Student kind of dynamic that applies to Indonesia. Westerners may be considerably surprised with the visible, socially acceptable, wide and unequal disparity between the rich and poor .

The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We”.
In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.

Indonesia, with a low score of (14) is a Collectivist society. This means there is a high preference for a strongly defined social framework in which individuals are expected to conform to the ideals of the society and the in-groups to which they belong.   One place this is visible clearly is in the aspect of the Family in the role of relationships.   For example, In Indonesia, if one wishes to marry, it is important to meet a woman’s family because the family is so important to her. If a man wants to be taken seriously by a woman, he has to visit the latter’s family and introduce himself formally to the parents of the girl. It is inappropriate to court a woman and formalize the relationship without informing the parents of the girl first.  Another example of collectivist culture of Indonesia is in the equation between child and parent

Indonesian children are committed to their parents, as are the parents committed to them all their growing lives. Their desire is to make their parents’ life easier.  There is a desire to take care of parents and give them support in their old age. There is an Asian saying that is accepted in Indonesia, “You can get another wife or husband but not another mother or father”. This family loyalty is also apparent in the fact that Indonesian families keep elders (such as grandparents) at home instead of sending them to any institution. In individualistic societies the focus is on the nuclear family only.

Masculinity / Femininity
A high score (masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational behaviour.
A low score (feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (masculine) or liking what you do (feminine).

Indonesia scores (46) on this dimension and is thus considered low Masculine. While not entirely like most North European countries who are very low in Masculinity and thus considered Feminine, Indonesia is less Masculine than some other Asian countries like Japan, China and India. In Indonesia status and visible symbols of success are important but it is not always material gain that brings motivation.  Often it is the position that a person holds which is more important to them because of an Indonesian concept called “gengsi” – loosely translated to be, “outward appearances”. It is important that the “gengsi” be strongly maintained thereby projecting a different outward appearance aimed at impressing and creating the aura of status.

In feminine countries the focus is on “working in order to live”, managers strive for consensus, people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation. Incentives such as free time and flexibility are favored. Focus is on well-being, status is not shown. An effective manager is a supportive one, and decision making is achieved through involvement.  In contrast, Masculine countries and to an extent lower Masculine countries that do not score too low on the scale to be called Feminine countries, display the traits of the Masculine societies but in a lesser degree.

Uncertainty avoidance    
The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways.  The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the UAI score.

Indonesia scores (48) on this dimension and thus has a medium low preference for avoiding uncertainty. This means that there is a strong preference in Indonesia toward the Javanese culture of separation of internal self from external self.  When a person is upset, it is habitual for the Indonesian not to show negative emotion or anger externally. They will keep smiling and be polite, no matter how angry they are inside. This also means that maintaining work place and relationship harmony is very important in Indonesia, and no one wishes to be the transmitter of bad or negative news or feedback.    Another aspect of this dimension can be seen in Conflict resolution. Direct Communication as a method of conflict resolution is often seen to be a threatening situation and one that the Indonesian is uncomfortable in.  A tried and tested, successful method of conflict diffusion or resolution is to take the more familiar route of using a third party intermediary, which has many benefits.  It permits the exchange of views without loss of face as well as since one of the main manifestations of Indonesia’s uncertainty avoidance is to maintain the appearance of harmony in the workplace; an intermediary removes the uncertainty associated with a confrontation.

Perhaps one very key phrase in Indonesia that describes how this works is “Asal Bapak Senang”  (Keep the Boss Happy). The reason is multifold; but if you extrapolate to UAI dimension you can see that keeping the boss happy means you will be rewarded and if you are rewarded you have no economic or status uncertainty as you will keep being a valuable member of the company.

When related  to Marketing application , the article written by Marieke de Mooij and Geert Hofstede can be accessed here:


Another useful article   can be  accessed here:

Dimension of culture in international marketing studies

Categories: Human Resources Management, Strategi | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment


Sudah hampir dua tahun ini saya malas menulis di blog tapi tetap mengikuti perkembangan dalam negeri dari jauh.    Image

Di depan asrama Indonesia  di London

Kerinduan akan kampung halaman nan jauh membuat saya mengingat ingat kembali bagaimana sih orang Indonesia.  Dalam satu  kelas seorang Professor   bercerita tentang orang Australia, Malaysia dan Indonesia  yang pergi bersama  untuk piknik  dan masing masing disuruh membawa bekal yang cukup karena perjalanan lewat sungai dan jauh. Orang Australia membawa apel,  orang  Malaysia tentu saja membawa  nasi Lemak dan kawan kita yang dari Indonesia cukup membawa rokok kretek Gudang Garam_nya.  Ketika dalam perjalanan orang Australia mulai lapar ia mulai memakan apelnya, tetapi dia hanya menggigit sekali  dan selanjutnya melempar  sisa apel gigitannya ke sungai. Kawan dari Indonesia   bertanya kenapa kamu  Australia santai aja menjawab..di Australia kan banyak apel..baik yang Apel Malang maupun Apel Washington (Boleh tanya Angelina Sondakh kalo tidak percaya). Selanjutnya ketika kawan Indonesia lapar,,,dia mulai mengisap rokok kreteknya..tetapi  cukup diisap sekali dan langsung di buang dan kawan dari Malaysia yg nanya..hey kenapa lu buang..terus di jawab dgn santai oleh  kawan kita : di Indonesia kan banyak  rokok kretek…Indonesia gitu lho. Selanjutnya ketika kawan dari Malaysia lapar…dia tidak membuka bekal  nasi lemaknya, tapi dia malah menangkap kawan  kita orang Indonesia  dan membuangnya ke sungai. Si Australia kaget dan nanya;; hey kenapa kamu buang dia, kawan dari Malaysia dengan santai menjawab : nggak papa  di Malaysia kan banyak orang Indonesia (nah..lho). Mungkin ini yang buat Menteri Muhaimin  menargetkan tahun 2017 tidak ada lagi pengiriman tenaga informal ke luar negeri.  Apapun yg terjadi Indonesia  bagi saya tetap menarik dan  tulisan ini merefleksikan kembali bagaimana sih orang Indonesia  itu.

 6 April 1977 di Taman Ismail Marzuki Jakarta, puluhan tahun  tahun yang lalu Muhtar Lubis bikin heboh dengan pidatonya yang kemudian dibukukan dengan judul MANUSIA INDONESIA. Terdapat banyak pro dan kontra saat itu ; dengan argumentasinya masing masing,, maka biarkanlah waktu yg membuktikan kebenaran . Setelah 35 tahun berlalu, setelah waktu bergulir, marilah kita tinjau ulang apakah yang di katakan oleh Muhtar Lubis tersebut benar dan relevan dgn kondisi sekarang. Menurut Mochtar, ciri pertama manusia Indonesia adalah hipokrisi atau munafik. Di depan umum kita mengecam kehidupan seks terbuka atau setengah terbuka, tapi kita membuka tempat mandi uap, tempat pijat, dan melindungi prostitusi. Dia mengutuk dan memaki-maki korupsi, tapi dia sendiri seorang koruptor. Lihat saja slogan slogan partai : KATAKAN TIDAK PADA(HAL) KORUPSI.  Kita tentu ingat bagaimana aktor kawakan kita Bung Roy Marten yang berapi api menyuruh kita menjauhi narkoba dalam suatu seminar di pagi hari dan kemudian malam harinya dia tertangkap menggunakan narkoba. Ciri kedua manusia Indonesia, segan dan enggan bertanggung jawab atas perbuatannya. Atasan menggeser tanggung jawab atas kesalahan kepada bawahan dan bawahan menggeser kepada yang lebih bawah lagi. Ada yg berani bersumpah  siap di gantung di Monas, tidak punya BB sekalipun semuanya sudah menjadi rahasia publik. Menghadapi sikap ini, bawahan dapat cepat membela diri dengan mengatakan, ”Saya hanya melaksanakan perintah atasan.”Kita bisa melihat carut marut dan hiruk pikuknya kasus Bank Century hanya untuk mencari siapa yang paling bertanggung jawab , dan ketika kasus itupun berakhir juga tidak jelas siapa yg bertangungg jawab. Ciri ketiga manusia Indonesia berjiwa feodal. Sikap feodal dapat dilihat dalam tata cara upacara resmi kenegaraan, dalam hubungan organisasi kepegawaian. Istri komandan atau istri menteri otomatis menjadi ketua, tak peduli kurang cakap atau tak punya bakat memimpin. Akibat jiwa feodal ini, yang berkuasa tidak suka mendengar kritik dan bawahan amat segan melontarkan kritik terhadap atasan. Semangat ini sekarang terlihat jelas dalam pengkaderan partai partai besar. PAN yang sempat diharapkan menjadi partai masa depan akan terus menurun pamornya karena tidak ada lagi trah pak Amin Rais disitu. Demokrat pun mengalami krisis yang sama, kasian Bu Ani Yudhoyono yang seperti dipaksa untuk  dicalonkan  menjadi presiden di pemilihan 2014.  Ciri keempat manusia Indonesia, masih percaya takhayul. Manusia Indonesia percaya gunung, pantai, pohon, patung, dan keris mempunyai kekuatan gaib. Seorang  mantan menteri agama-pun percaya dan memerintahkan penggalian di satu  wilayah  Bogor karena percaya ada harta karun disitu.  Percaya manusia harus mengatur hubungan khusus dengan ini semua untuk menyenangkan ”mereka” agar jangan memusuhi manusia, termasuk memberi sesajen. Sekarang kita membikin takhayul dari berbagai wujud dunia modern. Modernisasi satu takhayul baru, juga pembangunan ekonomi. Model dari negeri industri maju menjadi takhayul dan lambang baru, dengan segala mantranya yang dirumuskan seperti di jaman Pak Harto ; REPELITA 1, 2, 3, 4 dst, Ekonomi Kerakyatan yg sempat ngetop di zaman Bu Megawati.  Mantra terbaru sekarang adalah HEMAT BBM, sementara diam diam BBM non subsidi dijual.  Ciri kelima, manusia Indonesia artistik. Karena dekat dengan alam, manusia Indonesia hidup lebih banyak dengan naluri, dengan perasaan sensualnya, dan semua ini mengembangkan daya artistik yang dituangkan dalam ciptaan serta kerajinan artistik yang indah. Teman teman yang pernah tinggal atau mampir ke Yogya kota budaya dan seni menjelang perayaan Sekatenan tentunya tidak akan melewatkan kesempatan mampir ke tobong tobong di alun alun selatan untuk menonton Dangdut artistik dan sensual , sangat enjoy sekalipun kita tidak tau dgn jelas lagu apa yg dinyanyikan. Karya Ariel Peter Porn dan rekaman video yang dicurigai salah satu anggota DPR  seharusnya juga diapresiasi sebagai satu karya sensual dan artistik  Demikian juga dengan goyang Inul, Julia Perez dan Dewi Persik dan   pertunjukan Lady  Gaga yang  sayangnya  dibatalkan.  Ciri lainnya, manusia Indonesia tidak hemat, boros, serta senang berpakaian bagus dan berpesta. Dia lebih suka tidak bekerja keras, kecuali terpaksa. Ia ingin menjadi miliuner seketika, bila perlu dengan memalsukan atau membeli gelar sarjana supaya dapat pangkat.  Selain menelanjangi yang buruk, beliau  tak lupa mengemukakan sifat yang baik antara lain :  cepat belajar dan punya otak encer serta mudah dilatih keterampilan.    Akademisi  Indonesia  sekalipun kurang banyak publikasi  Internasional, tapi penelitiannya  sedikit dan berkualitas lho. Cek aja disini:

Thomson  Reuters merupakan satu lembaga internasional yang paling bergengsi dalam menentukan  kualitas publikasi internasional.  Banyaknya ilmuwan yang mengutip tulisan di jurnal sebagai referensi menjadi salah satu ukuran  berkualitas tidaknya tulisan.

Setelah 35 tahun  ternyata  sifat2 TERSEBUT masih bertahan, tapi ada yang bertambah yaitu : Belum merasa jadi Manusia Indonesia Sesungguhnya kalo belum naik haji.  

Di Jawa Timur  pernah digegerkan dengan seorang hamba Allah yang sangat  ngebetnya naik haji sekalipun biaya tidak cukup  sehingga yang bersangkutan  nekat menyelundup masuk pesawat  dan berhasil sampai ke Jeddah sekalipun di kembalikan. Kasus ini   mendapat perhatian dari boss  Jawa Pos  waktu itu  Pak Dahlan Iskan  yang sekarang   menjadi menteri dan   kemudian mewujudkan niat hamba Allah tersebut menjadi haji beneran bukan lagi Haji Nunut (ikut)  yg menjadi guyonon waktu itu.  Berbagai    cara menjadi haji di Indonesia  menghadirkan berbagai  atribut haji seperti Haji Nunut,  Haji  pasport hijau, Haji Abidin (Atas Biaya Dinas), haji Abim (Atas Bantuan Mertua), haji Tomat (tobat mari kumat)  dan  yang paling gress menurut Dirjen   Slamet Riyanto (Kompas 1 Juli, 2012) Haji Sandal Jepit. “Jika dilihat di beberapa tempat, ada jemaah keleleran (telantar), berarti itu mereka,” kata Kepala Daerah Kerja Madinah Subakin Abdul Muthalib pada musim haji 2010.Yang lebih membingungkan adalah ketika mereka tersesat. Petugas tak bisa mengembalikan mereka ke pemondokan karena tidak punya penginapan pasti.

Saya percaya pada dasarnya manusia Indonesia masih memiliki sikap yang baik. Tidak perlu cari kejelekan kita, cukup tunjukkan satu hal baik saja dalam diri kita seperti halnya jangan cari 1000 alasan kenapa kita gagal, cukup cari satu alasan untuk sukses. For me RIGHT or WRONG, it is my NATION. Selamat membangun Indonesia dengan segala keunikannya.

Categories: Human Resources Management, Psikologi Populer | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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